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APR 07 - APR 14, 2015

Only in NT: A Candidate for the Rut City Award

By Sweeney Payne

April 07, 2015

Sign on Oliver Street at the intersection of Sweeney.

We congratulate City employees for getting through a difficult winter, but question why they were more visibly hauling away snow when it was melting away, than when it really created safety hazards before it started to melt.

As we drive through NT, we dodge some real craters and go over dreadful stretches of disrepair. Some of the worst ones mentioned so far this year include:

most of Oliver; •

Goundry from Oliver to Manhattan; •

16th from Oliver to Payne; •

8th from Ironton to Oliver; •

Tremont from downtown to the Twin City Memorial Highway, Robinson between Twin City Highway; •

Payne Avenue south of Walck and before City Hall; •

parts of Carr, Zimmerman, Dahlgreen Place, Gilmore, and Vandervoort. •

9th Avenue needs repair, but, interestingly, is fine when it becomes Walck Road. •

These are already BAD. They are destined to get worse!

Many say “It’s all the streets that City officials don’t live on!”

Most tell us that the winter didn’t seem to make the streets worse. They were the same in October. Many say the entire City of North Tonawanda needs new streets.

Some ask why roads in towns around us aren’t so terrible for so many years on end. Some point out that Pennsylvania and Ontario know how to do roads properly and suggest NT send its road crew to learn how they do it! Several have suggested the removal of asphalt and installation of the concrete roads that once existed and didn't need continual patching and recovering.

Others suggest City officials hire someone competent to review our streets and create a proper remediation plan. Reviewing decades of newspaper coverage indicates the condition of NT's streets has been a serious problem for more than a decade. It's about time taxpayers see some of their money spent on a study really needed — how to give us safe and usable streets throughout the entire city.

Then, we need City officials who will follow through on a proper "fix."

Some residents and families of residents are concerned there is no stop sign on the dead end of Northeast Avenue, where it connects at Carr with 19th Avenue. There are many senior apartments, private residences and a busy Walgreens with an entrance-exit onto 19th, Cars drive through the drugstore lot from 18th to 19th as if it were a speedway, blissfully unaware that cars heading east from Northeast and Carr cannot see them until they pull out onto 19th Avenue. There are no sidewalks on the south side of 19th or on Northeast. Many residents walk their dogs or use the street to get to Walgreens from their homes. There are residents with canes, walkers, motorized devices, children and grandchildren. There are only a handful of residences on the dead end section of Northeast, but they are multiple units.

Walgreens has been a good neighbor, residents say, but safety at that intersection and along 19th and Northeast is a concern needing attention. It was especially difficult this past winter, when snow removers left snow piled on both sides of entrances to senior housing parking lots, and residents had to pull out onto 19th Avenue in blind faith that they wouldn’t be hit by cars they couldn’t see coming either way on 19th Avenue.

News articles in the past year have indicated that elected officials are not even knowledgeable about City streets. No wonder they don’t get them repaired!

The late Alderman at large Bob Clark, at one of the last meetings he was able to attend, suggested naming part of River Road to honor those awarded Purple Hearts. No one at the Council meeting during which he suggested it knew the names or locations of streets joining River Road. The suggestion was tabled. Clark died. So, evidently, did his excellent idea, for lack of someone on the Common Council figuring out what stretch of River Road had already been named in honor of Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action, and determining the names of the remaining streets, in order to pick a stretch for the naming in honor of Purple Heart awardees.

If you have a street or a section of one that you feel needs attention by our "new administration," you should, of course, report it to the Department of Public Works, at 695-8585, and to Mayor Pappas, at 695-8540, or at You may also send an e-mail to the Reporter, at with the information, so we can list additional streets in need of work in this column. Do remember to report all potholes, and please let us know that you have done so in order that we can monitor what happens with your complaint.





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